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How to Set Permanent Marker on Ceramic? (6 Methods)

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to set permanent marker on ceramic

Are you thinking of customized gift ideas for your loved ones or colleagues? Perhaps, you want to express your love and gratitude through personalized ceramic mugs and other items.

You are probably wondering whether you can add embellishments or write thoughtful messages using a permanent marker. But will it really work?

Luckily, there are easy steps you can follow on how to set permanent marker on ceramic. You can create impressive and thoughtful gifts and express your artistic skills and creative ideas. In this in-depth guide, I will walk you through the best ways to customize ceramics and set permanent markers on them.

Method #1: Bake It in the Oven


One of the first ways you can try to set a permanent marker on a ceramic mug is by baking. Don’t worry about this procedure because ceramics are safe for oven use.

  • Step 1: After writing on your ceramic mug with a permanent marker, you can bake it in the oven at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Note: You should place the mug inside before the oven heats up.
  • Step 2: After 25 to 30 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the mugs inside until the oven cools completely.
  • Step 3: Check whether the Sharpie on the ceramic remains intact. If it comes off, you can bake it again.

Method #2: Seal Sharpie on Ceramic Using Mod Podge


Another technique is to apply Mod Podge over the Sharpie. If you work on arts and crafts projects often, you may have used or are at least familiar with Mod Podge. It is an all-purpose product that can be used as a glue, a finishing compound, and a sealant.

Mod Podge is suitable for many types of surfaces, including ceramic. However, keep in mind that because Mod Podge comes in different formula types, some are not water-resistant and durable. Make sure you opt for the Mod Podge dishwasher-safe in gloss finish.

  • Step 1: Before you apply this over ceramic, make sure that the surface is clean. Wash it thoroughly with dish soap and water. Let it dry completely before you write on it.
  • Step 2: When you are satisfied with your Sharpie design, use a soft bristle brush to apply Mod Podge over it. Then, let it dry for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Step 3: Apply 2 to 3 more coats and let them dry again for 1 to 2 hours.

Method #3: Use an Oil-based Sharpie Paint Marker


Sometimes, the most effective trick is to use a compatible marker with your material. When it comes to permanent markings on ceramic, an oil-based Sharpie paint marker gets the job done. Plus, writing or drawing is easy since you can use them like regular markers.

  • Step 1: Simply shake the marker, remove the cap, and press the tip on scrap paper to check the ink flow.
  • Step 2: Afterward, you can start writing or drawing your preferred artwork on the ceramic surface. These oil-based Sharpie markers are available in assorted colors and you can opt for the shades that highlight your artistic designs.
  • Step 3: Let the markings dry completely and set permanently. This type of Sharpie marker resists water, abrasion, and fading. But you can coat it with a Mod Podge sealant or any compatible sealer for additional protection.
  • Step 4: If you made mistakes while writing or drawing, you can use q-tips or cotton balls to clean them up.

Method #4: Use a Sealant Spray


Sealer spray products offer optimum protective coating on handcrafted art projects. They can shield the artwork from dirt, dust, and other forms of damage.

With that said, sealant sprays can also work on customized ceramic materials to seal permanent marker markings.

Just a heads-up, sealant sprays have different variants based on the type of finish, color, and surface compatibility. Therefore, make sure you use a clear sealant spray compatible with ceramics.

  • Step 1: Sealant sprays usually have an unpleasant smell that can irritate your eyes and nose. Therefore, it is important to use it outdoors or in a well-ventilated space. Use a respiratory mask and gloves if necessary.
  • Step 2: These sealants usually contain harmful compounds that should not be ingested. Cover the rim of the cup with tape to protect it from the sealant spray. Then, place the mug on a solid surface upside down to avoid contaminating the inside.
  • Step 3: Hold the sealant spray from the object at a 8 to 10 inches distance to prevent the ink from pooling. Then, carefully spray the ceramic with a light coat.
  • Step 4: Allow it to dry completely.
  • Step 5: Once it dries, use a water spray on the markings to see if the ink remains intact. If not, you can apply another coat over the markings. Then, let it dry.

Method #5: Cover It With Clear Nail Polish

For durable marker artwork on your ceramic, you can use clear nail polish to seal it and keep it permanent.

Aside from the glossy appearance, nail polish can provide a protective layer your permanent markings and make them resistant to water and abrasion.

  • Step 1: Apply a light coat of nail polish to your artwork. Avoid heavy applications to prevent uneven layers and ink smears.
  • Step 2: Let it dry completely. It usually takes a couple of hours, but it is best to leave it overnight.
  • Step 3: Add 2 to 3 more coats if necessary. Make sure you allow them to dry between applications.

Method #6: Use Acrylic Paint Markers


Although you can use different types of sealants to set ceramic markers, you may also consider using a writing or drawing tool that can create permanent markings.

Acrylic paint markers are among the popular art tools for DIY personalized artwork.

They are suitable for various surface types, including ceramics. These markers can create long-lasting and unique artwork that resists water, abrasion, and fading.

  • Step 1: Shake the acrylic paint marker. Remove the cap and test the tip first.
  • Step 2: Press the tip down on a piece of scrap paper or cardboard to check the ink flow.
  • Step 3: Start decorating your ceramic using the marker. You can draw or write like you would with a regular marker.

Additional Tips to Set Permanent Marker on Ceramic

  • Clean the ceramic’s surface before you write or draw anything on it. Otherwise, the marker and the sealant might not adhere well to the surface.
  • For flawless results, you can start by creating an outline of your design on a piece of paper. Use permanent ceramic markers or compatible Sharpie markers to customize your work with permanent designs.
  • If you are going to use sealant sprays or any form of sealants, it is important to let them dry between applications. In this way, you can avoid ink smears and uneven layers.
  • Clear nail polish has a thick consistency that can easily build up or look uneven when applied heavily on surfaces. Therefore, make sure you apply a light coat initially and let it dry completely before adding more layers.

Can You Set Permanent Marker on Ceramic?

The quick answer is yes!

There are quick and simple ways you can try to set a permanent marker or Sharpie on ceramic items. The following are some of the best methods you can use for your next project.


When thinking of methods on how to set permanent marker on ceramic, the list can go on. But the detailed ones mentioned above are some of the best to keep your marker designs and artwork intact for a long time.

As these suggestions preserve and protect your artwork, they also exhibit your creative designs in the best way possible.

Which method are you going to try first? Don’t hesitate to share your experience with us through the comment box below!

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